If you are a parent like me, we get extra busy in the Summer.
We snack all day and with the heat, we are exhausted and just do not feel hungry enough for a large meal let alone want to turn on any ovens/stoves in the house!
In an effort to save money and time but still eat healthy, I am sharing some quick, easy and simple healthy meal ideas that are my go-to when its hot.
You can make these ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freeze the pre-cooked meat for use another day, making the process even quicker.
Brown up some ground beef or chicken to make taco meat or use other herbs and spices on chicken breasts/shrimp/fish. Use soft and/or hard taco shells. I use both …..at the same time . it helps keep the hard shell from breaking to pieces in my hand.
Tip: put a thin layer of sour cream on the soft shell so that it sticks to the hard shell then fold the soft shell over top the hard shell.
We use all the usual toppings: tomatos or salsa, diced lettuce, sliced black olives, diced peppers, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole.
Tip: mix a bit of taco seasoning with sour cream for a quick yummy flavourful sauce.
Check out this link for a yummy fish taco recipe.
If you have an instapot or a rice cooker, making rice is even easier and can be done while you are outside still enjoying the day since they auto shut off and keep the rice warm and moist.
Make rice (try jasmine or basmati, cauliflower rice or even quinoa).
Place the rice in a bowl then add some sliced up veggies and/or chicken/steak/shrimp/seared tuna or tofu. The vegetable topping options are endless but we tend to slice up radishes, cilantro, avocado, mango or pineapple, green onion, bell peppers, cucumber, bok choy carrots, asparagus, beansprouts, kale or cabbage. steamed broccoli/cauliflower/snap peas/spinach, fried mushrooms.
You can get creative with adding roasted chickpeas, hard boiled egg, beets, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, pickled ginger and butternut squash. Then top with a sauce of your choice: Teriyaki, cilantro lime, creamy chipolte, tahini sauce, creamy peanut sauce, pesto, chimichurri etc.
I found a lot of other great quick rice bowl recipes here.
We eat a lot of salads because they are so quick and easy and cold – Caesar, Greek, Green, Spinach,Potato and Pasta.
When we want the salad as our main meal, we will add things to “beef” it up a bit.
For Ceasar salad we will add imitation crab meat, sliced chicken or steak, anchovy’s, oven crisped Kale, real bacon bits, Parmesan cheese or Parmasan cheese whisps (Costco) instead of bread crumbs.
For Greek salad we do the usual (feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives, onions) but add in oven-crisped kale, pan fried capers and/or romaine lettuce.
For green salad we put in everything but the kitchen sink. Every vegetable we have on hand, nuts/seeds, dried cranberries/blueberries or fresh berries too. We often sprinkle in nutritional yeast, some salt and pepper and either olive oil or avocado oil as we do not really use store-bought salad dressings.
For a spinach salad we love to mix it with fresh berries. This salad is so simple. Just put baby spinach, sliced strawberries or whole blueberries, goat cheese chunks or feta and then toss in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Optional: add in some pecans
For pasta salad I add in cut up pieces of veggies like red onion, broccoli, peppers, fresh peas, olives, cherry tomatoes, salt, pepper and cubed cheddar cheese. Personally I prefer a creamy pasta salad so will add in dried or fresh dill, mayo and Dijon mustard. If more of a herb pasta salad is your style just add in some Italian salad dressing. Quick and Easy!
Check this link for an amazing dill pasta salad.
For potato salad I steam (not boil) new potatoes then once cooled I cut them in half/thirds add in plain greek yogurt, mayonnaise (not miracle whip), fresh dill and sprinkle in the new epicure potato salad seasoning. I also put real bacon crumbles and chopped up green onion on top. Its sooooo good.
BBQ Chicken, Steak or Salmon and Side
Just sprinkle some herbs and spices on your meat of choice. We generally use Epicure seasonings, Kinders seasoning (from Costco), Montreal Steak/Chicken Seasoning or The Keg Steak Seasoning.
The easiest is to pair the BBQ’d meat with a side of salad, new potatoes or a cob of local corn.
We love to pair a BBQ’d meat with one of the salads listed above. Our favorite is Caesar salad with homemade dressing. I usually make a large container of the dressing to last all week.
This is my mom-quick, kid-approved Homemade Caesar Dressing Recipe:
1 cup Mayonnaise (not miracle whip)
Garlic 1-2 cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
dash of ground pepper
* optional you can add 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste
Oh this is my new found love…and its pretty quick to put together.
All you need is corn cut into 2″ chunks (I found the corn easier to cut after it was boiled), new potatoes, sausage (spicy kielbasa or Smoked Andouille or any Cajun-style sausage) I used chorizo, shrimp (the bigger the better, tail on) and butter and old bay seasoning. The seasoning and real butter is the key! All you do is pre boil the corn and potatoes, pre thaw the shrimp then toss it together with the cut up sausage and the seasoned butter. Then throw everything onto a cookie sheet or I used a foil deep tray and cook in oven for 15 min or cook on the BBQ.
Serve with fresh baked bread.
Just like being at the Crab Shack in Seattle!
I saved my favorite for last. This one is so refreshing, tasty and easy.
Fry up some ground beef or chicken add some soy sauce, minced garlic,onion powder, sesame seeds, cayenne pepper if u like. Then once cooled a bit we put the meat in lettuce boats (butter lettuce works best) with some toppings (carrots julienne, bean sprouts, cilantro, crushed peanuts, pickled cucumber (sliced thin soak in white vinegar and water). Top it off with some peanut or Hoisin sauce. They taste a lot like the ones the cheesecake factory makes!
If you are looking for some quick and easy Popsicle recipes, check out the blog post by our Modern Mama, Leah.
Enjoy the rest of the summer!